Imagine spending the weekend at the foothills of the Mustangs Mountain Range, about 10 minutes south of Tucson, sipping Arizona wine and being tantalized by the picturesque desert scenery.
Pavle Milic, front of house manager, beverage director, and co-owner of Scottsdale's well-known restaurant, FnB, describes it as a place where time stands still. Amid this beautiful terrain in Elgin, which is referred to by locals as the “Biscuit,” Milic will be opening a winery and tasting room with plans for future lodging. Los Milics Winery is slated to open in fall 2019 — with the tasting room following in winter 2019, and lodging starting in early 2021.
Milic, who has been working closely with architects at Chen and Suchart Studio, will be utilizing historic structures already on the 15-acre site, as well as developing new construction that he says will inspire mindful presence of the surrounding landscape.
Los Milics Winery will produce and showcase several thriving wine varietals including petit verdot, marsanne, Montepulciano, petit manseng, vermentino, and malvasia bianca. Vino from other local wineries will also be available for tasting. For those staying on the property in one of the eight proposed casitas, Milic and his wife, Carla, will prepare preset dinners that will be served community-style to guests Thursday through Saturday.
“The idea is to create a space where people will be forced to contemplate, reflect, and through the dance of architectural expression and nature … encourage suspension of reality,” Milic says.
The idea for the winery began back in 2004 and was developed further after he helped open FnB in 2009. Milic recalls “doing an experiment with guests,” by serving them sample Arizona wines from local wineries without telling the origin or varietal.
Milic says, “Not one every guessed correctly, but I always received positive reviews.”
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Over the years, Milic continued to learn and gained expertise as an Arizona wine connoisseur, and eventually curated a famed wine program at FnB where he works alongside co-owner and chef Charleen Badman. Pavle's wine program was awarded a James Beard Nomination for Outstanding Beverage Program in 2017.
“Charleen through the years has taught me about the importance of putting your head down and doing the work," Milic says. "She never complains about working hard, and has a deep desire to always be a lifelong learner."
Milic also recalls being influenced by the mentorship of Chrysa Robertson of Rancho Pinot, and Anne Rosenzweig of Arcadia and The Lobster Club in New York City. Under their tutelage, Milic developed a strong work ethic and attention to detail, learned the importance of holding himself and his team to high standards, and developed a compelling voice representative of true hospitality.
With this breadth of understanding, Milic says, “Wine serves as a vessel for the making of long-lasting memories.”